Bats, Not Arms Get Mets 10th In A Row & First Place

10 games in a row and tied for first place.

Against the Giants and Rockies, dregs of the NL West, Met pitching was impeccable and they outscored their opponents during a 6 game stretch by a 27-4 margin.

Against the Reds, a team that ranked near the bottom of the league in team batting average, runs scored, hitting with runners in scoring position or the bases loaded, and during two-out scoring chances, Met pitching allowed an unfortunate 8 runs but fortunately, Met bats were wild enough to produce 10 runs of their own.

Kaboom! David Wright's 2-run boomer ties game in 9th

The burning question apparently, is not a 10-game winning streak, is not being tied with the Phillies for first base, is not a massive turn around for what was a sad sack and inconsistent Mets team. It is what the hell is wrong with Johan Santana?

Ace pitcher?

Santana who makes about $632,352 per appearance, should have been paying his teammates after giving up 5 runs in a mere 4 innings. Whilst he wasn't earning his salary as team ace he sure was an ace in excuse-making. Never pitched the game following the All Star game (his own fault of course, for an unsavoury first half) he couldn't throw his normal bullpen session because Shea Stadium was occupied by the Billy Joel concert, blablabla.

Fair play, you sucked Johan. Let's just leave it at that. If it's true, that this meticulous man had his meticulousness pulled out from underneath him and caused this pathetic outing then we'll expect to see a Cy Young second half hereafter because after all, the Mets aren't paying Mike Pelfrey, the current staff ace £21.5 million a season, they're paying Santana that sum. So start pitching like it.

Can you hear the homerun drums, Fernando? Another 2-run blast, how many blows does he left?

Fortunately for the Mets, 14 hits and 10 runs were enough to offset Santana's habitual homer fetish as well as Aaron Heilman's repulsive 3 run outing that lasted 2/3 of an inning.

Thanks to three two-run homers from the bats of Carlos Delgado, Tatis and Wright. In fact, that trio combined to drive in all 10 runs.

And perhaps more importantly, it was the Mets collective coming from behind in the 5th and 6th innings to take a 6-5 lead in the wake of Santana's ugly outing. It was their collective coming from behind in the 9th after Heilman and Schoeneweis messed up the bullpen's incredible first-half-ending streak And of course, the improbability of the Amazin' 4 run outburst in the 9th off of Francisco Cordero, who had saved 19 out of his 23 save opportunities leading up to last night.

It's precisely the kind of game the Mets would most certainly have lost a month or two ago.

Then again, how often was Delgado getting three hits and knocking in three runs? Bear with me but I'm almost ready to begin believing in Carlos again. A .396 batting average for July will do that to you.

Of course, same goes for Tatis who is hitting .432 in July.

Of course, Ryan Howard is hitting .340 with twice as many homers and 16 RBIs in 13 games in July so far.

And why do I mention the most powerful Phillie of all?

Because although the combination of the Phillies' night off and the Mets victory moved them into a tie for first, the Phillies were not completely silent last night.

They bolstered their Achilles Heel, the rotation, by trading for the average Joe Blanton and despite losing a fat 7 1/2 game lead over the Mets, the Phillies are not dead yet. Not even close.

But let's not let even a 10 game winning streak go to our heads.

One cannot envision Tatis hitting the way he has for the rest of the season. Alou is gone, Ryan Church might be gone. Yes, Delgado might have finally recovered but will a third of your starting outfield be sufficient in the dog days of September or does Minaya need to conjure up another bat?

As for pitching, keep your fingers crossed on Santana. He probably won't pitch as badly the rest of the second half as he did last night. Then again, Pedro doesn't look like he'll last the season, John Maine can't pitch beyond the 5th with any success and does anyone really believe that Pelfrey is out in the clear and Cy Young ready already?

Just a few goosebumps, a few hairs raised on the back of the neck. A 10 game winning streak is great. Being tied for 1st is great.

But what happens when this streak ends? What happens later next week against the Cardinals and the Phillies?

You see, a season of inconsistency is not erased in the span of a 10 game winning streak, no matter how good it feels like right now. There's still a very long road to haul.


sanchez said...

think about where the Mets rotation would be without Santana though, even if he isn't putting up great numbers. Pedro hurt or ineffective all season would leave us relying on Maine, Perez, Pelfrey and god knows who else the rest of the season. Trading for him was imperative.

jdon said...

I know his numbers are okay. I know he had a week off. Trouble locating his fastball. Blah blah blah He has a great ERA. He just has not looked overwhelming. And he always has excuses. He seems a little insecure. Maybe it is that First Year in New York syndrome. I hope so. I sense some weakness at his core.

Jaap said...

well, it's funny, he runs a litany of excuses then says he wasn't making excuses. maybe it's being in NYC and the pressure of the big salary but this doesn't strike me as a guy who struggles in the spotlight - look at what he did against the Yankees in the playoffs two years in a row. But hell, I feel he'll come around, jdon. I hope he will anyway because when he does, he'll be the most valuable Met of the season...

Jaap said...

sanchez, I agree. we need to see the Santana we paid for. And god only knows how many more starts Oliver Perez has in him before he starts returning to inconsistency.

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